Marcia K. Johnson, PhD


Marcia K. Johnson, PhD

Marcia K. Johnson, PhD
Sterling Professor of Psychology
Yale University

Marcia K. Johnson is a Sterling Professor of Psychology at Yale University, among the highest honors bestowed on Yale faculty.

Marcia was born in Alameda, California, went to public schools in Oakland and Ventura, and, having sampled classes from many of California’s excellent and then nearly free campuses of public higher education, received her B.A. (1965) and Ph.D. (1971) from UC Berkeley. She moved to Long Island in 1970 for her first faculty position at The State University of New York at Stony Brook, was recruited to Princeton University in 1985, and to Yale in 2000. She was also a Visiting Scientist at the Memory Disorders Research Center at the Boston Veterans Affairs Medical Center (1992-93). She thinks of Californian as her ethnicity and the East Coast as her home.

Marcia’s research has examined human attention and memory, including: the relation between comprehension and memory, mechanisms of veridical and distorted memory, component processes of reflection and consciousness; memory changes associated with aging; the relation between emotion and cognition; and the “self” in cognition. Her work has been described as “intellectually, empirically, and theoretically broad-ranging and bold” (APS William James Award citation, 2006). With colleagues and students, Marcia has proposed integrative models of cognition: the Multiple-Entry, Modular Model of cognition (MEM); the Source Monitoring Framework (SMF); the Perceptual/Reflective Attention/Memory Framework (PRAM). Her lab, often collaborating with other labs, has collected behavioral and neuroscientific data relevant to developing and assessing these theoretical ideas using an impressive array of methods: behavioral experiments, questionnaires, electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques, and investigating various populations. She is a trailblazer and hands-on driving force of the excellent research generated by her lab, but her generosity in acknowledging the work of others and encouraging her students to develop their own ideas is legendary.

Marcia was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014. Other awards and honors include Fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1987) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1984), James McKeen Cattell Fund Sabbatical Award (1983), American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology (2011), American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award (2006), and American Psychological Society William James Fellow Award (2006). She has received grants from NSF, NIH/NIA, NIMH, Alzheimer’s Association, and Pew Charitable Trust. In addition to her outstanding science, she is recognized and loved for being a “valued mentor and colleague, with infectious enthusiasm, warmth, generosity, and humor” (APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award citation, 2006) and her awards include: the Master Mentor Award from APA Division 20 (2005) and the Mentorship Award from the Yale University Graduate School (2005). She is also is a tireless, highly effective, and well-respected leader in service to the field, her department, and her university. Marcia is a Trustee of the James McKeen Cattell Fund, a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, American Psychological Association, and Psychonomic Society, and a member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Society of Experimental Psychologists, Memory Disorders Research Society, Society for Neuroscience, and the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition.

Individuals Honoring Marcia K. Johnson:

John Bargh, Yale University
Jennifer Bonilla
BJ Casey, Cornell University
Marvin Chun, Yale University
Kay Deaux, City University of New York
Chad Dodson, University of Virginia 
Frank T Durso, Georgia Tech
Hugh and Mary Ann Foley, Skidmore College
Nancy Franklin, Stonybrook College
Joan Girgus, Princeton University
Sam Glucksberg, Princeton University
Linda Henkel, Fairfield University
Paula Hertel, Trinity University
William Hirst, The New School
Matthew Johnson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University
Sean Lane, Louisiana State University
D. Stephen Lindsay, University of Victoria
Marianne Lloyd, Seton Hall University
Keith Lyle, University of Louisville
Mara Mather, University of Southern California
*Karen Mitchell, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Kristi Multhaup, Davidson College
Nora Newcombe, Temple University
Stanley Nyberg
Mary A. Peterson, University of Arizona
Suparna Rajaram, Stony Brook University
Charan Ranganath, University of California, Davis
Philip Rubin, Haskins Laboratories
Laurie Santos, Yale University
Teresa, Treat, University of Iowa
Allan Wagner, Yale University

*FABBS would like to thank Dr. Karen Mitchell for nominating Dr. Johnson for this honor and for leading the effort.

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